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411’s UFC 253 Report: Adesanya Wins

September 27, 2020 | Posted by Robert Winfree
UFC 253

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
(c) Israel Adesanya (184 lbs.) vs. #2 Paulo Costa (185 lbs.) – for middleweight title
#3 Jan Blachowicz (205 lbs.) vs. #1 Dominick Reyes (205 lbs.) – for vacant light heavyweight title
#7 Kai Kara-France (126 lbs.) vs. #9 Brandon Royval (126 lbs.)
#13 Sijara Eubanks (136 lbs.) vs. #7 Ketlen Vieira (136 lbs.)
Hakeem Dawodu (145 lbs.) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (150 lbs.)*

Alex da Silva (156 lbs.) vs. Brad Riddell (156 lbs.)
Jake Matthews (170 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (170 lbs.)
Ludovit Klein (150 lbs.)* vs. Shane Young (146 lbs.)
Aleksa Camur (206 lbs.) vs. William Knight (205 lbs.)

Juan Espino (255 lbs.) vs. Jeff Hughes (258 lbs.)
Khadis Ibragimov (206 lbs.) vs. Danilo Marques (206 lbs.)

Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 253. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for the event, relaying all of the action to you just as I see it. The UFC is back on PPV tonight, and while this isn’t a terribly deep card the top two fights are very relevant. The main event has some serious Fight of the Year potential as for just the third time in UFC history we’ve got two undefeated fighters vying for a UFC title (if you remember the other two you get a cookie). Champion Israel Adesanya is after his second title defense but standing in his way is hard charging power puncher Paulo Costa. The co-main event will see the light heavyweight division try and move on from the Jon Jones era, Dominick Reyes will take on Jan Blachowicz for the vacant 205 pound strap with the winner hoping begin a lengthy title reign of their own. Beyond that it’s kind of slim pickings, this is a card built around the top couple of fights.

UFC 253 comes to the world from the Flash Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. On the mic we have Jon Anik Paul Felder. We’re using a hybrid rule set, you only need one hand on the mat to be considered downed and a ref can only use instant replay for a fight ending sequence and once used the fight cannot be restarted. Nice to have that established, though I think Nevada’s rule about being able to restart a fight is probably better.

Khadis Ibragimov might have debuted in the UFC undefeated and with a bit of hype, but he’s gone 0-3 in the UFC with some really uninspired outings and is in a must win situation here. Danilo Marques brings a two fight winning streak into his UFC debut and he’s looking to get that all important first UFC win. Despite the losing streak Ibragimov is your -185 favorite to +165 for Marques.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Khadis Ibragimov (8-3, 206 lbs.) vs. Danilo Marques (9-2, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Marques is three inches taller while Ibragimov has an inch and a half of reach on him. Both men standing tall early, and feinting just a bit. Single leg from Marques hits the fence. Marques tries a single leg, nearly gets swept and they wind up still clinched on the cage. Ibragimov grabs the cage to reverse a takedown, he’s in full mount but Marques sweeps him and jumps on the back but can’t secure it and they wind up separated on the feet. Both men miss punches, they’re a little gassed already. That’s some heavyweight level cardio these two have given they’re visibly tired after half a round. Marques lands a leg kick. Ibragimov tries to rush but misses most of his offense. Bit of a right from Ibragimov. Marques lands a right. Single leg again from Marques, they hit the fence and stall out. Marques lands a knee, he’s trying to slip around to the back and is able to reap a leg and get the takedown. Ibragimov gives up his back trying to get up, both hooks in for Marques. Ibragimov is based up on all fours trying to shake Marques off. Marques goes for the choke, he’s adjusting but loses the choke as they hit the mat. One more attempt but it doesn’t get all that close before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Marques

ROUND TWO: Both men pretty tired here. They circle a bit, mostly trying to get their air back. Ibragimov misses a few rights, he’s going to throw his own shoulder out if he keeps throwing like that. Marques lands a leg kick. More circling, this fight might cure my insomnia at this rate. Both men miss punches. Marques grabs a single leg and gets the back in the scramble, he’s after the choke but only has one hook in. Ibragimov bases up and tries to shake Marques off but just kind of sags to his knees in fatigue. Marques gets both hooks in now. Even commentary is talking about sleep schedules now, that’s how compelling this fight is. Marques is thinking about an armbar from the back, he wont actually go for it though. Ibragimov mugs for the camera, and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Marques, 20-17 Marques overall

ROUND THREE: Bit of a calf kick from Marques, but man these two are moving in slow motion at this point. Ibragimov grabs the fence to avoid a takedown, about the fourth time he’s done so in this fight. Some missed punches from Ibragimov. Bit of a right from Ibragimov, Marques gets close and tries a single leg on the fence. Ibragimov grabs a standing guillotine, Marques ducks low spins out and hits a single leg despite another fence grab from Ibragimov. Marques moves to mount, but he’s gassed and Ibragimov sweeps him into full guard. Ibragimov moves to half guard. Marques looks to come up on a double leg, he gets Ibragimov down and lands in side control. Ibragimov gives up the back trying to wall walk and Marques moves to the ride position. Marques gets the back and tries for the choke but he wont get anything before the clock mercifully ends this.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Marques, 30-26 Marques overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Danilo Marques via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)

I lack words to fully describe how dreadful that was.

Juan Espino won his season of TUF in his UFC debut but that was back in November of 2018 and he hasn’t been seen since. Espino is hoping to continue his overall momentum and remind fans that he’s a heavyweight prospect to pay attention to. Jeff Hughes has yet to win in three UFC appearances and now finds his back against the wall as another loss could easily end his UFC run. Despite the near two year layoff Espino is the favorite at a hefty -300 against +250 on Hughes.

Heavyweight Bout: Juan Espino (9-1, 255 lbs.) vs. Jeff Hughes (10-3 1 NC, 258 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Espino is an inch taller and has three inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get things going. Circling to start, both men looking for avenues of attack. Espino keeps missing kicks. Hughes avoids a looping right. Hughes defends a single leg attempt, Espino with a bit of a left but his punches are ugly. Espino gets a single leg, Hughes looking to wall walk but Espino pulls him away from the cage and passes to side control. Some rights from Espino as Hughes regains his feet, then Espino hits a mat return into the ride position. Hughes back up, Espino still stuck to him like glue. Espino looks to transition to a double leg, he’s got Hughes on his knees again but Hughes is back up but can’t get free. Elevated body lock from Espino and he’s nearly in full mount now. Full mount for Espino, but Hughes rolls, Espino gets a scarf hold chest compressor and Hughes taps out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Juan Espino via Submission, scarf-hold choke, at 3:48 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Espino for his work this evening. That was incorrectly announced as an arm triangle choke, definitely different things. Jon Anik heads into the cage for the post fight interview, curious change to the format. Espino says he lost a lot of time on his career due to injury and the pandemic but he never lost motivation and is happy to be here and feels he belongs. He talks us through the finish and notes he’s worked on that one a fair bit. Asked about the future, he jokes he could fight again on this card if necessary.

Nice stuff here from Espino, he gets his hands together from full mount and moves to side control to finish. Note he hits an angle to get more pressure on the neck, and gets one foot on the fence to increase his lateral leverage.

William Knight has won his last two fights including a win on the Contender Series a few weeks ago, now he’s trying to get make a good first impression on the wider UFC audience. Aleksa Camur is undefeated including his UFC debut back in January, he’s trying to remain perfect and start making a move in a very shallow division. The odds are close but lean towards Camur at -155 against +135 for Knight.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Aleksa Camur (6-0, 206 lbs.) vs. William Knight (8-1, 205 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Camur is three inches taller but has just one inch of reach over Knight. They touch gloves to get things going. Camur circling early. Knight sweeps the legs from Camur, and they wind up clinched on the fence. Camur defends along the fence line, Knight lands an uppercut as they jockey for position. Camur tries a trip, Knight defends. A few knees go back and forth but there isn’t a lot happening here. They’re doing just enough to convince the ref to not break things up, but this ref is very forgiving of the clinch. And they’ve stalled long enough so the ref breaks them with about 30 seconds left in the round. Both men miss some kicks. Knight lands a calf kick. Combination from Knight in close as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Knight, I think that final flurry stole it after a very boring frame

ROUND TWO: Bit of a body kick from Knight to start the round. Both men land some leg kicks. Camur with a right. Camur lands a couple of lefts and forces a clinch on the fence. Outside reap from Camur and he lands in half guard but gets the back in a scramble with both hooks in. Knight spins into his guard and looks to posture up and land damaging blows. Camur scrambles back up and we’re back on the fence. Outside trip from Knight, he lands in side control. Camur tries to get up but eats some punches as he does so. Some knees go back and forth, Knight gets a modified judo trip and lands into side control again. Knight lands some lefts. Camur to his knees, Knight gets his back and looks to flatten him out. Half guard for Knight as he goes to his back. Knight back to full mount, nice pass, and he grabs an americana and cranks it but time runs out before he can force a tap. Camur might have been saved by the bell there.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Knight but a marginal one, 20-17 Knight overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves again. Knight lands a body kick then a calf kick. Another calf kick from Knight. Camur lands a right. They clinch again, Knight lands an uppercut before they hit the fence. Knight hits an outside reap and lands in half guard, then passes to side control quickly. For a guy listed as a brawler Knight has a really solid ground game from top position. Camur explodes to his knees, Knight to his back but they’re up and Camur slings him onto his seat. Knight is trying to wall walk, Camur is trying to pull his hips away from the fence. Knight up but eats a knee on the way and they’re clinched again. Camur lands a short elbow. Knight drops down and gets a double leg into half guard. Some short punches from Knight. Knight has Camur’s left hand gift wrapped, he punches and forces Camur to lose some position. Knight postures up and swings a right that misses as the clock runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Knight, 30-26 Knight overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – William Knight via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

I guess Camur might have taken the first, which was a very dull round. Mic time for Knight after that, he wishes happy birthday to someone and notes this was his first decision. He says he loves a challenge and felt Camur was one, so he’s aiming high going forward. Asked what he’d like next he mentions his training partner is fighting for the UFC in November and he’d like to be on the same card.

Shane Young has gone 2-1 in the UFC, only falling to current champ Alexander Volkanovski in Young’s UFC debut. Young is looking to maintain that momentum and possibly take a step up in competition if he can get to three wins in a row. L’udovit Klein took this fight on short notice, which probably contributed to his missing weight by five pounds, but he does have a seven fight winning streak going and could score the biggest win of his career here. Klein is a slight -135 favorite to +115 on Young.

Featherweight Bout: Ludovit Klein (16-2, 150 lbs.) vs. Shane Young (13-4, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Young is an inch taller but the reach is identical, of course Klein missed weight as well. Southpaw for Klein. Both men feinting with the lead hand early. Klein lands a body kick. Another body kick from Klein. Right then a left head kick from Klein, Young is in trouble and drops, Klein then pounds things out on the mat.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – L’udovit Klein via KO, head kick and punches, at 1:16 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Klein for his work this evening. Klein, the first Slovakian fighter in UFC history, gets an interview after that and starts with English to say this is the best feeling in his life. He sticks with English to say he’s very happy and notes he loves head kicks. He’s clearly very happy.

A lot of lead hand work, then as Young tries to back up Klein fires the head kick. While the kick clearly stuns Young for a second it’s the follow ups that do him in, Klein slides to his right and slips the right uppercut under the arm of Young to drop him and finish things.

Diego Sanchez is still kicking around the UFC despite debuting all the way back in 2005, he’s coming off of a disqualification win and might be able to find another improbable winning streak as his career continues winding down. Jake Matthews is 5-1 in his last six fights and boasts a two fight winning streak, Sanchez represents one of the more recognizable names he’s faced and with the odds so heavily in his favor he could get a somewhat high profile win. Matthes is the biggest favorite on the card at -700 to a +500 comeback on Sanchez. I’m kind of guessing on the Sanchez odds there, they don’t actually show them on the broadcast for some reason.

Welterweight Bout: Jake Matthews (16-4, 170 lbs.) vs. Diego Sanchez (30-12, 170 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Matthews is an inch and a half taller and has an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Sanchez, who runs into a right hand. Another right from Matthews in a brief clinch. They separate again and Sanchez starts circling. Sanchez doing a bit of stance switching now. A right lands for Matthews, then a right uppercut. Sanchez badly misses a kick. Bit of a high kick from Matthews. Another right from Matthews, he’s sliding off and landing that right fairly consistently at this point. Bit of a left hook from Matthews. Matthews lands the right again. Bit of a left from Sanchez in close. Matthews lands another right. Sanchez’s body is wide open but Matthews hasn’t gone to it yet. Sanchez walks into a couple of punches, he’s rushing on a straight line when he tries to attack and he’s not finding much. Takedown from Matthews, he lands punches from the guard of Sanchez. Matthews moves to half guard, Sanchez tries to roll for a heel hook but eats some hard rights for that as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews

ROUND TWO: Bit of a right from Matthews to start the round. Sanchez misses a running attack. Sanchez is bleeding from the nose. Matthews checks a calf kick. Pull back uppercut from Matthews lands flush. A lot of single shots thrown by Matthews, not much for combinations right now. Matthews lands a right. Bit of a body kick from Sanchez. Matthews lands another right, but he’s not really engaging in a meaningful way. Sanchez whiffs on some more punches. Another uppercut from Matthews lands. Sanchez tries to brawl, he eats punches and Matthews slips away from him. Right then a left from Matthews land. That right then left hook combination from Matthews is showing up now, and Sanchez’s face is kind of a mess. Sanchez lands a calf kick. Another counter right lands for Matthews, that will be the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Matthews, 20-18 Matthews overall

ROUND THREE: Sanchez tries a flying knee, and eats a left hook for that very awkward motion. Matthews is punching while moving back fairly well. Right from Matthews drops Sanchez, he stands over him and unloads with punches before Sanchez ties him up in half guard. There’s a pretty bad cut around the right eyebrow of Sanchez. Matthews with punches to the body and head. Sanchez gets full guard back. Sanchez is fishing for a guillotine, Matthews avoids that easily and lands an elbow. Matthews stands free, but can’t pass the guard as he goes back to the ground. Right from Matthews lands. Hammer fists from Matthews, Sanchez is trying to scramble under but he’s eating some elbows. Armbar attempt from Sanchez, Matthews is pretty safe in terms of the armbar. Sanchez bails on that and keeps full guard. Matthews with another flurry of blows but wont get a finish before the clock runs down.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Matthews, 30-26 Matthews overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Jake Matthews via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)

Leave it to Matthews to underwhelm even in victory over Sanchez in 2020. Mic time for Matthews, he calls this surreal as he just beat the man he watched win TUF 1 when he was eleven years old. He says he didn’t really know what to expect as Sanchez is very unpredictable, but they wound up playing into his hands. Asked about the future he says he’ll fight whenever the UFC wants him to but he’d like someone closer to the top fifteen.

Brad Riddell is on a five fight winning streak including two wins in the UFC, he’s trying to continue that momentum here and start making upward progress in a very stacked division. Alex da Silva has gone 1-1 in the UFC but he’s been out of action for over a year, taking out a rising prospect like Riddell would be his biggest win to date. Riddell is a fairly heavy -320 favorite to a +260 payout on da Silva.

Lightweight Bout: Alex da Silva (21-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Brad Riddell (8-1, 156 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Da Silva is an inch taller and has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going. Body kick early from Riddell. Da Silva with a couple of punches in close. Riddell punches the body and then lands a left hook. Leg kick from Riddell. They trade lefts, da Silva hits a double leg into half guard. Riddell scoots to the fence and starts looking to wall walk. Right from da Silva. Riddell back up on the fence as da Silva slips around to his back and starts looking for mat returns. Da Silva hits a mat return, Riddell back up almost immediately. Riddell is able to get chest to chest and find a clinch. They break without incident. Bit of a right from Riddell. Da Silva avoids a takedown attempt and grabs a guillotine, Riddell is looking to work from his knees as da Silva tires to switch to an anaconda. The round ends in that spot.

SCORECARD: 10-9 da Silva

ROUND TWO: Riddell lands a leg kick. Both men miss punches. They punch into a clinch. Knees from Riddell. Da Silva is after a single leg but Riddell is defending so far. Da Silva bails on that and retains the clinch. They break and reset at distance. Side kick to the knee from da Silva, Riddell lands a calf kick. Bit of a left hook from Riddell. Da Silva lands a knee to the head, and Riddell jabs him for it. Right from Riddell, da Silva might be fading. They trade uppercuts then Riddell avoids a takedown attempt. Riddell lands a right and then an elbow in close. Da Silva avoids a takedown attempt then eats a left. Right lands for Riddell again, he’s finding an angle for that punch now. Body shot from Riddell then they trade lefts in close. Riddell is after a double leg, he gets it along the fence. Da Silva bounces back up but gets punched on the way as they break. Both men land front kicks to the body, then Riddell lands a left to the body in close. Da Silva tries a double leg, Riddell sprawls away from it. Another calf kick from Riddell lands. Left hook then a right from Riddell, and they split jabs to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Riddell, 19-19 overall

ROUND THREE: Riddell feinting forward, and lands a right. Da Silva lands a leg kick. Riddell digs the body then lands a right. Another right lands for Riddell. Right to the body then a left hook from Riddell. Stiff left hook from Riddell in close. Riddell lands another left hook, da Silva’s chin is darn good. Da Silva tries a takedown but can’t get it. Jab from Riddell then a calf kick. Da Silva misses an uppercut and eats another right. Riddell lands a right elbow. Da Silva forces a clinch and they hit the fence. Riddell slips free and resets. Jabs high and low from Riddell, da Silva complains of an eye poke and the ref gives him time. Replay shows it was a clean punch. Da Silva can continue but Riddell got screwed a little there. Riddell blocks a double leg and gets on top. Da Silva to the fence and wall walks but eats punches on the way. They trade body blows. Da Silva lands a left hook. Riddell lands another left hook. Combination from Riddell, he’s after the finish but da Silva is hanging tough. Da Silva lands a left hook of his own. Riddell after a single leg on the fence, he settles for a clinch and lands an elbow as they break. They punch into the clinch again, Riddell gets a takedown and da Silva slips around to the back standing where the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Riddell, 29-28 Riddell overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brad Riddell via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Rough first for Riddell but he battled through it. Mic time for Riddell, he’s happy with the win and puts over da Silva’s strength but he got the win in the end. He notes his overall ring time experience across all disciplines prevailed.

That wraps up preliminary action, on to PPV for the main card.

Hakeem Dawodu has gone 4-1 in the UFC and is on a four fight winning streak, but he’s mostly been fighting a slightly lower level opposition and now looks to continue his winning ways with a step up in competition. Zubaira Tukhugov has gone 4-1-1 in the UFC and has drawn some high praise, but he missed weight badly here and now needs a win to help smooth over that gaff and continue trying to establish himself at featherweight. The odds are close but favor Tukhugov at -135 to +115 for Dawodu.

Featherweight Bout: Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1, 145 lbs.) vs. Zubaira Tukhugov (19-4-1, 150 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Dawodu has five and a half inches of reach advantage, plus Tukhugov’s weight issue. Dawodu lands a calf kick early. Both men feinting a bit, still just getting a feel for the fight. Dawodu keeps looking for kicks, neither man looks all that comfortable yet. Left hook from Tukhugov lands. Bit of a calf kick from Dawodu. Both men miss punches, they’re still looking for counters. Bit of a left from Tukhugov. Dawodu still working low leg kicks. Right from Tukhugov lands. Dawodu is starting to bite on the feints of Tukhugov. Tukhugov lands a right. Jabs from Tukhugov now, he seems to have found a bit of a rhythm. Dawodu lands a jab. Dawodu lands a left to the body. Right from Tukhugov and he avoids the counters. There’s an exchange of rights. Tukhugov lands a jab as the last blow of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tukhugov

ROUND TWO: Tukhugov circling again, looking to get Dawodu out of position. Bit of a spinning back kick from Dawodu. Tukhugov lands a left to the body. Both men showing the jab again. Tukhugov lands a right uppercut. They’re splitting jabs a fair bit this round. Dawodu lands a leg kick, and eats a right for his trouble. Tukhugov lands an uppercut. They clash on lefts, then trade rights. Another right from Tukhugov lands. Both men evade punches. Tukhugov lands another right to counter a leg kick. Front kick to the body from Dawodu and they trade punches. Some more jabs go back and forth. Both men land in close. Single leg from Tukhugov hits the fence and Dawodu is able to spin free quickly. They’re back to trading punches. Dawodu lands a left to the body. Tukhugovgets a takedown along the fence. Dawodu is looking to wall walk but Tukhugov moves to half guard and is sitting on his hip. Punches from Tukhugov. Dawodu to his knees and back up but shoved back down by Tukhugov as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Tukhugov but a close round, 20-18 Tukhugov overall

ROUND THREE: Circling again, Tukhugov looking to stay mobile. Dawodu lands a leg kick. Another leg kick from Dawodu. Tukhugov’s footwork is really nice, he’s gliding around. Left from Tukhugov lands. Dawodu lands a calf kick. Tukhugov punches into a takedown attempt, Dawodu defends but Tukhugov shoots again and makes him shuck him off. Dawodu lands a left hook then a leg kick. Single leg from Tukhugov hits the fence. Tukhugov gets a go behind but Dawodu breaks his grip and gets free. Dawodu lands a right. Tukhugov lands a left. They clinch up and break without incident. Dawodu tries to goad Tukhugov into a brawl but Tukhugov isn’t biting. Tukhugov keeps circling and just lets the clock run down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Dawodu, 29-28 Tukhugov overall but this could go either way

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Hakeem Dawodu via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)

30-27 seems off, but 29-28 for either man is perfectly acceptable. Mic time for Dawodu, he says Tukhugov just ran away from him. He says people are trying to bring down his African brothers, he’s not going to kneel. He asks for someone who wont run from him next. To close he felt Tukhugov was getting tired down the stretch, and apologizes for cursing in the cage.

Ketlen Vieira has gone 4-1 in the UFC and looked to be a surefire contender before getting knocked out in her last fight, now she’s trying to bounce back and prove she’s still a viable top tier fighter in a division that badly needs them. Sijara Eubanks is on a two fight winning streak and took this fight on very short notice, but if she can get to three in a row after winning just a couple of weeks ago she will be on the best run of her career. Vieira is a -190 favorite to a +170 comeback on Eubanks.

Women’s Bantamweight Bout: #13 Sijara Eubanks (6-4, 136 lbs.) vs. #7 Ketlen Vieira (10-1, 136 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Vieira is four inches taller and has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get things started. Rush from Vieira gets a clinch and they hit the fence. Some knees from Vieira as they jockey for position. Eubanks breaks free and resets. Bit of a one two from Vieira. Eubanks lands a calf kick. Vieira lands a left hook. Eubanks lands a right. Vieira forces another clinch, this time they’re in open space. Eubanks avoids a low single leg and lands a few uppercuts as they break. A few body shots land for Eubanks. Hard right from Vieira but Eubanks just eats it. Eubanks lands a body shot, Vieira lands a counter right. Vieira lands a left to the body. Right from Vieira lands. Eubanks blocks a couple of punches but the more stationary this fight is the more Vieira is landing on her. Eubanks avoids a takedown attempt. Vieira lands to the body in close then lands a right hand to the head. Combination from Vieira in close then a trip takedown into the guard of Eubanks. The round will end there.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vieira

ROUND TWO: Eubanks is moving again this round. Vieira punches into a clinch and trips Eubanks down into full guard. Eubanks is trying to tie things up, Vieira scoots her to the fence and looks to posture up. Some short blows from Vieira. Eubanks tries to get on her hip, she’s fishing for a kimura but isn’t finding it. Vieira lands some punches and gets her flat again. The ref stands them up, not sure I agree with that as Vieira was working. Eubanks is trying to establish her jab, and they trade in close quarters again. Body shots from Eubanks but Vieira lands a counter right. They split some jabs. Vieira lands a stiff right. Eubanks with a bit of a right. Vieira lands a right then slips a right from Eubanks. Eubanks misses some punches, they trade in close and the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Vieira, 20-18 Vieira overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the final round. Vieira working the jab, Eubanks avoids a clinch attempt. Eubanks is coming forward trying to force the action. Eubanks lands a right to the body. Vieiera forces a clinch, then they break after Eubanks tries a trip. Jabs from Vieira as she’s moving. Eubanks lands a left hook. Bit of a head kick from Eubanks, she’s definitely going for it. Vieiera lands a right. More jabs from Vieira, Eubanks doesn’t have a way around that except trying to bull through it. They trade rights. Both women land in close. Eubanks lands a left to the body. Vieira lands a left hook. Bit of a right from Vieira but Eubanks is out working her this round. Eubanks lands a right to the body. More jabs from Vieira then a right as Eubanks lands a body kick. They clinch, Eubanks gets the back standing. Vieira rolls under for a kneebar, but there’s not enough time for that to develop.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Eubanks, 29-28 Vieira overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ketlen Vieira via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

Mic time for Vieira after that, she feels good and gives glory to God and dedicates the win to someone. She wishes her mother happy birthday, then when asked what she wants next she wants whoever gets her closer to the title.

Kai Kara-France has gone 4-1 in the UFC and is coming off of a win, given how wide open flyweight is right now a memorable win in this kind of high profile position could get him into the title picture. Brandon Royval scored a win in his UFC debut, now he’s in position to establish himself as a top ranked fighter with a second win here. The odds like Kara-France at -220 to a +185 payout on Royval.

Flyweight Bout: #7 Kai Kara-France (21-8 1 NC, 126 lbs.) vs. #9 Brandon Royval (11-4, 126 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Royval is five inches taller but Kara-France has an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves, Royval fighting southpaw. They trade kicks early, Kara-France aiming lower and takes the legs from Royval for a second. Right from Kara-France wobbles Royval then they trade and it looks like there was an illegal knee. Royval is after a gogoplata, now an omoplata as he’s on bottom. They’re really tied up now, Royval winds up on top in side control. Full mount for Royval, Kara-France shrimps to half guard. Royval moves to side control, Kara-France rolls to his knees and is looking to stand. Kara-France gets on top and then steps free so we’re back on the feet. Spinning back fist from Royval lands. Kara-France is backing up, Royval lands a right and a knee. Kara-France lands a right. Royval lands a body kick then a knee and Kara-France is down along the fence. Royval is fishing for a guillotine, he sits for it but Kara-France gets his head free. Kuro-kuro sweep from Royval and they wind up back on the feet. Bit of a body kick from Kara-France. Royval gets tripped down. Kara-France lands a right in close. Royval lands a left, he’s unloading along the fence and they trade power blows then clinch. Both men miss elbows on the break. Bit of a left from Royval as the round ends. Wild round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Royval

ROUND TWO: Royval coming forward with kicks again. Kara-France lands a right. Both men land leg kicks. Royval grabs a guillotine as Kara-France thinks about a double leg, they sink to the mat and Royval adjusts his grip to force the tap.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Brandon Royval via Submission, guillotine choke, at :48 of Round 2

Mic time for Royval after that wild fight, he says he feels stupid for getting dropped twice but he gets in here to fight. He focused on picking up the pace in the second. He says he didn’t have the power relative to Kara-France so he was happy to use his grappling to get the win. Asked about the future he says he had planned on calling someone out but he got dropped right away and would rather focus on getting better.

Dominick Reyes dropped a contested and somewhat controversial decision to Jon Jones back in February but now with Jones’ moving up to heavyweight he’s getting a second shot at the title. Reyes is hoping to leave the judges out of the equation this time and begin his reign as champion. Jan Blachowicz has had a heck of a career turnaround after a rough start to his UFC run, he’s on a three fight winning streak which led into his first title shot here. Blachowicz is likewise hoping to begin a title reign and help the division finally move on from the imposing shadow of Jon Jones. Reyes is a significant -260 favorite while the +220 payout on Blachowicz likely tempts a few bettors.

Light Heavyweight Title Bout: #3 Jan Blachowicz (26-8, 205 lbs.) vs. #1 Dominick Reyes (12-1, 205 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Reyes is two inches taller while Blachowicz has an inch of reach advantage. Southpaw for Reyes. Reyes circling early, bit of an inside leg kick from Blachowicz. Reyes lands a left. Inside leg kick from Reyes. Body kick from Reyes. Reyes lands a couple of lefts. Blachowicz has a right blocked. Reyes with another inside leg kick. Some forward motion from Blachowicz, he lands a body kick. Reyes lands a left. Leg kick from Blachowicz, not much there. Blachowicz misses a combination of punches. Reyes lands another body kick. Reyes blocks a punch but takes a body kick. Blachowicz has another combination blocked. Fairly sedate pace thus far, both men very cognizant of the length of the fight and their conditioning. Reyes lands a body kick to close the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Reyes but a close one

ROUND TWO: Reyes comes out more aggressive this round, he lands a couple of punches. Inside leg kick from Reyes lands. Combination from Blachowicz is blocked. Blachowicz blocks a high kick. Bit of a front kick to the body from Reyes. Blachowicz avoids a few punches. Short uppercut from Blachowicz in close lands. Reyes lands another inside leg kick. Both men land in close. Blachowicz avoids a combination. They both miss in close. Reyes avoids a hook and lands a counter. Body kick from Reyes then a leg kick. Blachowicz lands a left body kick again. Left then a right from Blachowicz, mostly blocked but he made a bit of contact. Blachowicz bulls forward, Reyes has a busted nose now. They get close and Blachowicz drops Reyes with punches, he stands over and pounds out Reyes.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Light Heavyweight Champion – Jan Blachowicz via TKO, punches, at 4:36 of Round 2

Mic time for the new champion, who wants to know where Jon Jones is. Really? Come on man. He says he’s had a lot of fights and is more excited about becoming a father soon than winning the title. He mentions he worked hard against southpaw kickboxers to prepare for Reyes. To close he starts with Polish, then does his own translation to thank the Polish fans and hopes to keep this momentum going.

Paulo Costa is undefeated coming into his first title shot, he’s looked darn near unstoppable thus far and is hoping to stop one of the hottest fighters in the sport and bring a title back to Brazil. Israel Adesanya is the undefeated UFC middleweight champion, he’s coming off of his first successful title defense when he bested Yoel Romero and is hoping to continue building his legacy with another defense here. Adesanya is slightly favored at -175 to +155 for Costa.

Middleweight Title Bout: (c) Israel Adesanya (19-0, 184 lbs.) vs. #2 Paulo Costa (13-0, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Adesanya is three inches taller and has a whopping eight inches of reach on Costa. Adesanya opens southpaw but will switch his stance a lot. Leg kick from Adesanya. Adesanya lands a side kick to the knee. Costa is trying to back Adesanya to the fence. Another leg kick from Adesanya. Costa lands a leg kick of his own. Calf kick from Adesanya. Body kick from Costa. Both men still getting a feel for things. Left body kick from Costa, Adesanya lands a leg kick. Calf kick from Adesanya. Adesanya catches a kick and lands a right to the body. Another leg kick from Adesanya, those are adding up rapidly. Costa is trying to bait Adesanya in. Adesanya lands a jab. Stiff jab from Adesanya. Adesanya still kicking the leg, he takes the calf again. Costa avoids a high kick. Hard left body kick from Adesanya. Costa is having almost no success with the cage cutting. Adesanya lands a counter left. They stare away the final seconds.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Adesanya

ROUND TWO: More leg kicks from Adesanya then misses a head kick. Costa still trying to come forward, misses a high kick of his own. Costa lands a couple of leg kicks. Adesanya with a jab. Costa avoids a head kick but he’s getting chewed up. Adesanya with another calf kick then a jab. Hard left body kick from Adesanya, then a left as Costa tried to rush him. Adesanya back to leg kicks. Head kick from Adesanya is barely blocked and Costa is backing up now. Costa is bleeding from the right eyebrow after that head kick. Adesanya avoids a few lefts. Stiff jab from Adesanya. Adesanya catches a body kick and lands a combination. Left from Adesanya floors Costa and Adesanya pounds him out on the ground.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Middleweight Champion – Israel Adesanya via TKO, punches, at 3:59 of Round 2

That was a nearly flawless performance from Adesanya. Mic time for the champ, he says y’all must have forgot because of how the Romero fight went, he tells the media people with their click bait headlines he just reminded everyone why he’s the best. He says people should be penalized more for missing weight, related to his teammate Shane Young losing earlier tonight. Asked what lies ahead for him, he says Silva left a great legacy but he’s doing the work and he wants to fight Jared Cannonier if Cannonier can get by Robert Whittaker. I’d agree Cannonier is next if he beats Whittaker. He puts over his coaches and teammates, says he loves everyone watching at home too.

Some kicks from Adesanya, doesn’t include the finish but they’re amazing to watch anyway.

Alright everyone, that brilliant performance closes out UFC 253. Thanks for being here and reading, be that live or after the fact. We’ll unpack all of the action from this event on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast plus look ahead to next weeks event. I’m not gonna lie to you guys, next weeks event is pretty darn weak. But we’ll preview it, and I’ll be here to cover it live for you. Until next week stay safe out there and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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UFC 253, Robert Winfree